Annual Monitoring Update April 2016
From 7-13 April the first Annual Monitoring trip for 2016 took place at Narawntapu National Park (NNP).
Every year between April and July eight sites around Tasmania are surveyed to update and increase knowledge on how wild devil populations are faring. The aim is to ascertain the status of these populations in order to develop management plans for them into the future. The Annual Monitoring undertaken by the STDP is funded by the Toledo Zoo.
Eleven individual devils were trapped at NNP, made up of 5 juveniles and 6 adults. All juveniles were female, and all individuals had been previously trapped and microchipped, apart from a single 2015-born female. Boots, a recently re-released male, was trapped and was showing excellent signs that the wound for which he had received treatment was healing. None of the adults showed lesions consistent with DFTD. Both adult females caught had small pouch young: a 2012 female (Ginevra) had 2 pouch young, while 2014-born Emma had 4 young. Low capture rates make estimates of DFTD prevalence difficult, but from 2015 data (1/8 adults) and the current data (0/6 adults) it appears that prevalence is low at the site.
This week the STDP starts another Annual Monitoring trip at Kempton; and this kicks off a very busy monitoring season for the team, with annual monitoring also taking place in May and June at Bronte, Granville Harbour, Fentonbury, Buckland and Takone. But it doesn't stop there - the STDP is also undertaking other surveys at Stony Head, Maria Island and more at NNP during the same period!
Image - STDP staffers Jodie and Clare "processing" a devil (in the sack on Clare's lap) at NNP.